This past year I decided to return to school to earn my Bachelor's degree at 30 years old. I wanted to share my story and the journey that led me to return.
I was born and raised in Brentwood. I come from a multicultural family, my father is German and my mother is Peruvian. They are working-class, but regardless of their own financial struggles growing up, they gave me everything. I grew up thinking I was wealthy and privileged and that I deserved everything. Not because someone told me, it was my environment, and my parents gave me. This later affected me because when I graduated high school, I thought I would go to fashion school, launch my own clothing brand, and people would be waiting in line outside my store to buy my clothes. This is what I thought. I thought everything was easy. I was so disappointed when this didn't happen. I was surprised that I could not even sell one dress! Rejection after rejection, I learned the hard way that sometimes dreams do not always come true because it has to come from the passion that you have and the hard work you put in - not just expect that they will come true. Eventually, I got a job as a designer working for a company. It was a great job initially, but then it changed leadership, was sold and was no longer what it was. After working there for six years, they laid off forty percent of their staff, myself included. I was devastated.
As I was preparing for the next step in my career, the quarantine required me to rethink my plans. Through my disappointment, my mother shared with me that "life surprises you when you least expect it, to guide you towards new opportunities." The quarantine brought me to silence, to reflect. COVID took so much from so many people. For some, it took everything from them, but what I realized was that no one can take away what you learn, your education. I applied to countless jobs and had to continually check the box - no, I do not have a Bachelors's degree. This is when I realized that I needed to go back to school because if I had gone to college, maybe I would have had the knowledge and tools to have been able to make my business successful. I am telling my story for the younger generation, students that think it is easy - it is not easy, it is hard work. You hear so many stories of successful people not going to college, dropping out, and discouraging college, but it is something you can fall back on. What if these so-called "overnight" success stories had failed? I can tell you that you do not hear about those stories, which is why I am sharing mine. So now I am going back to college, not for fashion or business, but to pursue law. Although I passionately enjoyed designing, the difference I aspired to achieve through fashion was not enough for me. I spent time studying Chief Justice Ginsberg and Amal Clooney's impressive works and their significant impacts on international human rights and gender discrimination. Rather than achieving my goals through fashion, I saw the magnitude of what I could accomplish towards gender equality by changing systemic structures that discriminate and limit women in the workplace and in the world.